MANILA, Philippines – After battering and disfiguring Antonio Margarito in November 2010, Manny Pacquiao confided to Filipino sportswriters who covered the title fight in Arlington, Texas, that he wasn't keen on staying at super welterweight.
In a recent interview with DAZN, however, Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach broached the idea Pacquiao may consider fighting Gennady Golovkin, popularly known as GGG, a two-time world middleweight champion and pound-for-pound king in 2017.
Though he dominated Margarito to the point of repeatedly imploring the referee to stop the bout in the 11th round, Pacquiao felt too small for the 154-pound division.
True enough, he didn't defend the World Boxing Council belt, disputed at a catchweight of 150 pounds, and returned to the welterweight division, where he reigns up to now.
With no opponent yet for Pacquiao's defense of the World Boxing Association welterweight crown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, current division champions Terence Crawford (World Boxing Organization) and Errol Spence Jr (International Boxing Federation, World Boxing Council), four-division titlist Mikey Garcia, and two-division champion Danny Garcia have lined up to be counted as probable foes.
According to Roach, Pacquiao "doesn't wanna beat just anybody, he wants to fight the top guys."
Crawford (36-0, 27 knockouts) and Spence (26-0, 21 KOs) are at the summit, while Mikey Garcia (40-1, 30 KOs) and Danny Garcia (36-2, 21 KOs) are not too far behind.
Based on reports coming from their promoters, Mikey Garcia and Crawford are the pacesetters in the Pacquiao fight derby this year.
Roach is looking further ahead.
"But the thing is, Manny might wanna go a little bit higher and fight GGG or one of those guys who's supposed to be the best guy in the world today because Pacquiao still desires to be the best there is," said Roach.
His legacy secured as boxing's only eight-division world champion, it's unlikely the 41-year-old Pacquiao will search for another milestone.
Fact is, in a common interview with the press covering his defense of the World Boxing Association (regular) welterweight crown against Adrien Broner on January 19, 2019, Pacquiao reiterated he doesn't want to return to the super welterweight division.
"That (154 lbs) is too much for me. I can carry the punches but after the fight, you can feel something," said Pacquiao, who got hurt by a vicious Margarito left hook to the body in the sixth round.
Of course, Pacquiao can change his mind. He thrives on challenges and excels when the obstacles are tougher to hurdle.
And if he does, what higher mountain to climb than Golovkin, a Kazakhstani power puncher with a 40-1-1 record, 35 by knockouts?
At 5-foot-10 1/2, GGG is half an inch shorter than Margarito, but broader, heavier, and presumably stronger.
Against Pacquiao, Margarito entered the ring at 165 lbs, gaining 15 lbs overnight.
Similarly, GGG could rehydrate to as high as 175, a light heavyweight, in a middleweight bout.
Pacquiao, who was 148 when he tangled with Margarito, has never reached 155 on fight night so a weight discrepancy of 20 lbs is likely against Golovkin.
Roach knows this so he ruled out Pacquiao colliding with GGG at 160 lbs.
After all, Golovkin once stated in 2016 he's willing to go down and battle Pacquiao at 154 lbs.
For the bout to be legit middleweight, however, it should be done at 155 or higher.
Roach may be daydreaming when he blurted out the possibility of a Pacquiao-Golovkin bout, but it caught the fancy of boxing fans.
Who knows, a promoter might even be swayed by Roach's crazy thought. – Rappler.com